In the last five years, Ohio’s University of Toledo (UT) has constructed many new buildings, partnered with ProMedica Health System and increased enrollment for nine consecutive semesters.

Despite these successes, the university still recognizes a need to adapt to a changing world and address looming threats to the university — like the expected budget cut of $20 million a year in state funding, according to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal.

Cost Efficiency

UT will continue toward the goal of keeping tuition costs low in 2012, but the aforementioned cuts in government funding have cause administrators to look to other options to ensure a bright future for the university.

Along with applying corporate world techniques to improve efficiency and productivity, UT president Dr. Lloyd Jacobs stressed the importance of increasing technology use in teaching and creating more opportunities for online education.

Expanding learning techniques to include online lectures, discussion boards, blogs and YouTube could be especially advantageous as it increases opportunities for students and decreases the cost of tuition at a university level.

And the cost of education is certainly a concern for UT students. Dr. Jacobs said the rise in the cost of tuition as in turn increased the student debt, causing even greater social problems — like bringing the value of a college degree into question.

Online Education Skeptics

Further jeopardizing the value of a college degree is the skepticism many people have developed about the ability of the higher education system to prepare students for real world jobs, Dr. Jacobs said.

In an ever-changing world with an increasingly competitive job market, some believe that a college education is not enough for student’s to land a secure job.

Hence, Dr. Jacobs emphasized that internships, service learning, travel and work experience are an essential part of higher education that must be further implemented into the university experience. He said such opportunities would provide students with practical knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to give them an edge on other job competitors.

Change in Education

UT dean of students Michele Martinez said she was particularly impressed by Dr. Jacobs’ emphasis on the need for embracing technology at the university. She said this approach helps UT and its administration remain relevant to a younger generation.

“I believe that the world is changing and our nation needs to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us,” Martinez said in a press release.

Toledo, Ohio public school superintendent Jerome Pecko said Dr. Jacobs’ plan to implement more technology use in the learning process isn’t just limited to the higher education realm; Aside from setting up K-8 schools, he hopes to introduce cutting-edge technology in the classroom throughout the Toledo school district as a means of embracing the ever-changing future of education.

“While his comments were certainly intended for his university family, my mind repeatedly thought about the ways in which TPS’ K-12 program is doing its job to prepare our students for campus life down the road,” Mr. Pecko said in a press release. “After all, we too are engaged in a significant transformation.”

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